Sunday, October 24, 2010

My garden in October

I love this time of the year. The Southeaster has not yet won the battle with the Northwester and so it doesn't blow everyday. The days are warmer but there are still the occasional rainy days. Best of all are the amount of flowers blooming.
The front bed that we started in April is really rewarding.
The Geranium incanum has spread like wildfire. The Halleria lucida has more than doubled in size and the Scabiosa africana are giving a constant supply of cut flowers. The only dissapointment is that the Aristea major that I ordered and planted have turned out to be Dutch irises - yuck! Don't misunderstand me Dutch irises are beautiful as are roses - just not in the Western Cape.
                                              LOOK AT ME NOW SEPTEMBER 2010

I hope to feature at least one plant a week. This weeks choice is:
Scabiosa africana

DESCRIPTION: Large green oval leaves with jagged edges grow low to the ground. From this base tall flower stalks shoot up to almost 1 metre high. These stems carry beautiful deep mauve, pale purple or even white flower heads up to 50mm across.
DISTRIBUTION: The pincushion occurs naturally in the Western Cape.
CULTIVATION: Scabiosa Africana does equally well in full sun or semi-shade. It appreciates well composted soil and will grow from seed or cuttings. It self seeds naturally in the garden giving you a constant supply of cut flowers.

Please Note: I regularly consult the following 4 sources for plant information:
Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants, Pitta Joffe (First Edition Fourth Empression 2007)
This book is invaluable to any indigenous fanatic.
Field Guide to Wild Flowers, John Manning (2009)
This book is great if you are wanting to find exact localities of plants. Lots of other botanical info also
Grow Fynbos Plants, Neville Brown and Graham Duncan (2006)
Another must have for any Cape gardener.
This site is amazing - I would be lost without it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Hate Roses

I agree roses look stunning and some of them smell gorgeous, but everytime I open a gardening magazine and I see someone"s prize rose garden featured, I have the horrors.
Just think of all the chemical fertilizers and probably every pesticide and fungicide known to man going into the soil and air.
What about all the water used to make roses look their best? Water is scarce in most parts of South Africa. Dont these rose gardeners know that all their fertilizers and pesticides upset the balance of nature and probably kill half the insects, frogs and birds?
I live in the Western Cape and am slowly turning an old established garden full of alien plants into a new indigenous garden. I am trying to choose only plants from the Cape and not South Africa in general. It makes sense that a plant that comes from Kwa Zulu Natal will probably not be very happy with the Cape's hot dry summers. Although my garden is still a work in progress, I am already reaping the rewards of a chemical free, water wise environment.
I would love to hear from other Cape gardeners that love our indigenous flora. What have you planted? Where do you buy your indigenous plants? What eco friendly pest control measures do you use?